12 March 2010

Toyota Stats, Part 3

Washington Examiner | Theodore Frank | I am not afraid of my Toyota Prius

[The NHTSA] found that sudden acceleration was several times more likely among elderly drivers than young drivers, and much more frequent among the very short or someone who had just gotten into a vehicle. [...]

The Los Angeles Times recently did a story detailing all of the NHTSA reports of Toyota “sudden acceleration” fatalities, and, though the Times did not mention it, the ages of the drivers involved were striking.

In the 24 cases where driver age was reported or readily inferred, the drivers included those of the ages 60, 61, 63, 66, 68, 71, 72, 72, 77, 79, 83, 85, 89—and I’m leaving out the son whose age wasn’t identified, but whose 94-year-old father died as a passenger.

These “electronic defects” apparently discriminate against the elderly, just as the sudden acceleration of Audis and GM autos did before them. (If computers are going to discriminate against anyone, they should be picking on the young, who are more likely to take up arms against the rise of the machines and future Terminators).
[My emph.]  Very good piece by a guy who has professional experience with specious "sudden acceleration" cases, including one where the plaintiff contended that EMI from submarines must have turned on the cruise control. No word on whether they put a little tin foil hat on the cruise control to protect it from evil Atlantean mind-control rays.

(Via Alex Tabarrok)

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